Walker Votes to Repeal the Medical Device Tax to Lower Healthcare Costs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) today released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 184, the Protect Medical Innovation Act, in a 283-132 bi-partisan vote:
“Part of Obamacare’s deeply-flawed approach to healthcare reform was the creation of a new medical device tax that drove up the cost of life-saving medical equipment, while depleting research and development innovation for patients and killing medical jobs. Congress has expressed its bi-partisan disdain for this bad policy by delaying the healthcare tax twice, with even Democrats admitting its failure. Repealing it completely will help permanently lower healthcare costs for North Carolina families and allow our state to continue leading in critical medical research.”
The Protect Medical Innovation Act repeals the 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of a medical device by a manufacturer, producer, or importer, such as hip implants or pacemakers. The tax was part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The medical device tax went into effect in 2013, but only remained active for two years. It was delayed in 2016 for two years and then again in January 2018 for two years. Both votes received bi-partisan support.
A study of the economic impact of the medical device tax from 2013 to 2015 showed that research and development was reduced by $34 million in 2013, with a $188 million decline in the sale of medical devices. Another study from 2017 estimated that 21,900 jobs in the medical device industry were lost during the two years the tax was active. The tax is also considered to drive up the costs of medical devices as manufacturers pass along the cost of the tax to consumers, making it harder for people to gain access to life-saving equipment.